Acts 1:8 doesn't come to us as a command or a priority principle. It simply states how God's purposes will be accomplished down through history, we can find ourselves in this verse, but we aren't in Jerusalem and we aren't in the first century. That special place and time in God's plan is long past. We are now in the "ends of the earth." The "ends of the earth" aren't found at the farthest distance from Wheaton, IL. or Atlanta, GA. Jesus is speaking of places far away from Jerusalem. (By the way, all points in the United States are farther from Jerusalem than any place in Africa or Asia.)Then he addresses two extremes that often infect our relation to missions:
If someone is caught up in meeting the homeside needs when he ought to be exploring ways to serve overseas, he faces what I call the "tyranny of the immediate." Here's how it works: Close-up needs such as those in our family or home church, press in so demandingly that immediate needs begin molding life-shaping priorities. Certainly, the immediate needs are real and working to meet them is entirely legitimate. But too often, the close-up hurts and needs eclipse even greater ones an ocean away.
The other paralyzing extreme is what I call "global guilt." It's a vague but debilitating anxiety that makes you fear you really aren't doing enough or that you should be living in some dangerous, dreadful place overseas. World Christians sometimes fall prey to "global guilt" because they tend to be aware of the astounding need all over the world. Adrift without specific guidance, people suffering from "global guilt" just can't believe they're enduring enough hardship to please God. It's ridiculous, of course, to consider that a tougher or more strategic role in God's work would make us any more pleasing to God, but Christians have believed stranger things. In any case, "global guilt" is a set-up for burnout at the heart level.
There's a way to balance the two extremes of being caught up in local needs and being compulsively guilty about distant ones. We need to be aware of God's greater purposes and of a broad scope of needs, near and far, while striving to be in prayer so that we can best hear Jesus' specific commands for us "through the Holy Spirit." In light of God's will for the entire world, we can best sense God's will for us.